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Home » May 2009 Game CommentsMay 2009 » Ejections


Game 48: May 28, 2009
WinRed Sox3
W: Josh Beckett (5-2)
H: Hideki Okajima (8)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (13)
28-20, 1 game winning streak
L: Anthony Swarzak (1-1)
24-25, 1 game losing streak
Highlights: I listened to the radio broadcast with my new Apple In-Ear Headphones. Rather than noise-canceling they are sound-isolating, but the way they physically filled up my ear canals allowed them to transfer the vibrations of the wire hitting against my keyboard tray to travel along its length. This Morse code transmitted a message of annoyance almost as nettlesome as Todd Tichenor.

You know how rookies get high numbers when they first come up? Well, Todd Tichenor’s number is 97, the highest number issued this season. He issued Mike Redmond’s first ejection in his 12-year career when the catcher disputed a call at the plate. Tichenor adjudged Jeff Bailey safe at home although at certain angles Jason Kubel’s throw and Redmond’s tag conspired to render Bailey out. The score was 3-1, so the questionable ruling in the top of the seventh did not make the difference in the game. Ron Gardenhire came out to defend Redmond and was summarily dismissed.

The charged-up Minnesotans laid into Tichenor for calling a first-pitch strike against Joe Crede to begin the bottom half of the seventh. If you are disliked by midwesterners you are doing something very wrong.

If I were an umpire I’d get freaked out too if I got Twins fans worked up enough to boo my calls. Who can blame Tichenor for squeezing Josh Beckett a bit?

Well, Jason Varitek for one, and Terry Francona for another. The pitcher reacted strongly to the umpire’s failure to call the third strike on Brendan Harris and Varitek interceded. Perhaps Tichenor was eager to get the crowd back on his side: he gave Varitek the boot after just a momentary exchange of ideas. Francona arrived on the scene a second too late to save Varitek so the Red Sox skipper got in a few choice words before getting the heave-ho himself. Like a substitute teacher vainly issuing detention slips to an unruly class of middle-schoolers Tichenor demonstrated his utter lack of control by overcompensation.

(Then again, Francona’s ejection may have been self-engineered to get out from under the horrors of the Metrodome sooner rather than later. He’s not an admirer of the building, you see.)

Fortunately, Varitek had already smacked two home runs to give his team an unassailable lead. I admit I was one of those fans who had visions of Jarrod Saltalamacchia in a Red Sox uniform dancing in my head in the offseason, but after today’s game Varitek now has twice as many homers as the Rangers’ catcher.

The bullpen tandem of Hideki Okajima and Jonathan Papelbon shut down the Twins’ offense. Okajima’s outing was of note because he shut down the M&M Boys, one of the premiere batting duos in the league. Joe Mauer’s on-base skills make him an ideal two-hole hitter but his burgeoning power might see him move down in the order.

The Red Sox split a series with an underestimated team and move northwards to play against an exposed team. When the Red Sox last saw the Blue Jays they were looking up to them in the standings and hearing a lot of talk about how Toronto finally put it all together. One nine-game skid later and the contenders appear to be pretenders. And unlike last season, Boston won’t have to face Roy Halladay every series.

David Ortiz broke two bats, one on a check swing and another on his knee after a strikeout. Next time he’ll take his anger out on the ball.

I hope.

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